Le livre des trois vertus
- Publication date
- Digitizing sponsor
- Boston Public Library
- Boston Public Library
- Middle French
Higher resolution images of this manuscript are available on Digital Commonwealth.
Considered by scholars of Christine's work to be among the earliest and possibly the truest copy of the text, possibly created under the direction of the author herself.
Title from incipit (1r).
Collation: Parchment codex, fol. iii (2 modern paper leaves + 1 parchment leaf) + 98 + iii (2 modern paper leaves + 1 parchment leaf) ; 1-11⁸ 12¹⁰.
Layout: Two columns, 31 lines; bounding and writing lines in blind or light plummet.
Secundo folio: ... baille et tenu a ...
Script: Bâtarde in brown ink with red rubrics.
Decoration: Two-line gold initials throughout filled with salmon and white tracery outlined with blue, or vice versa; six-line initials at section incipits, on f. 1, 52, and 74 in blue with white tracery on gold, with vines and leafy infill in colors, full border of spindly vines and trefoil leaves in gold and colors, mauve and blue bars circumscribing the text, with white tracery. Half-page miniature, folio 1r, in two registers: at left, the Three Virtues appearing to Christine in a vision as she sleeps in a canopied bed; at right, one of the Virtues at a lectern teaching a group of variously clothed seated women, with four crowned women (virtues themselves?) standing behind, the whole in gold and colors with diapered background and border of vines with trefoil gilt leaves.
Binding: Ca. 19th-century red morocco binding with gilt-fillet border and board edges, gilt filigree turn-ins, purple watered silk endpapers and conjoint flyleaves, two glossy paper flyleaves at front and back, spint gilt in compartments, "LE LIVRE/ DES/ VERTUS" and "MANUSCRIT/ SUR/ VELLIN," all edges gilt.
Origin: The primary script of this manuscript has been attributed by Nadia Margolis to the "R" hand, "one of the three major [scribes] in Christine's atelier as identified by Gilbert Ouy and Christine Reno," with "interventions by the 'X' hand" (thought by some to be Christine's own) on several leaves. The "X" hand, if not Christine's, is certainly the copyist of Harley MS 4431 and Paris, BN MS fr. 580 (see Margolis, p. 764). This observation contradicts Willard's assertion that this manuscript "does not seem to carry the mark of the manuscripts done under Christine's direction." (Willard and Hicks, p. xix).
Provenance: 15th-century ownership inscription on f. 98v: "Ce livre contient xxiiii vingt [i.e. 80 + 20] feulies et une ystoyre. Et appertient a monseigneur de sainct vallier qui le trouvera le luy rende et parera la payne dy celluy qui le trouvera." ("This book contains 100 leaves and one story. And it belongs to Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier. May whoever finds it return it to him, and he will pay the trouble of he who finds it.")
Provenance: N. Yemeniz bookplate inside front cover, his sale Paris, 1867, lot 536 (SDBM 21831). Sold Hotel Druot, 12 June 1882, no. 40 (SDBM 46130 and 79397). 19th-century French pencil description on f. i recto. Bought in 1919 from Leclerc (Paris) by Erwin Rosenthal, sold by him to BPL in 1943 (SDBM 57051). BPL plate inside front cover.
Call no. MS f Med. 101.
Former call no. MS 1528.
Bibliography: Willard, Charity C. "The 'Three Virtues' of Christine de Pisan," Boston Public Library quarterly (1950), pp. 291-305; Willard, Charity C. and Eric Hicks. "Le livre des trois vertus: Christine de Pizan" (Paris, 1989), edition based on this manuscript; Margolis, N. (review of Willard and Hicks), Speculum 67 (1992), pp. 761-764; See also Ouy, G. and C. Reno, "Identification des autographes de Christine de Pizan", Scriptorium 34 (1980), pp. 221-38.
Access to physical copy/copies by appointment only. Please contact Boston Public Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Department for further information.
Bond, W.H. Supplement to the Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, 210-211
- 2010-02-24 14:22:33
- Poitiers, Jean de, former owner
- Call number
- Canon 5D
- ABBYY FineReader 8.0
- Worldcat (source edition)
- Full catalog record
Uploaded by LisaEgge on